Gas stations in California are locking their doors as they run out of fuel. Today prices have reached a record-setting high of an average of $4.61 per gallon, with many stations charging premium prices for the limited amount of fuel on hand. The current shortages and price increases are a harbinger of the rapidly changing situation across the country.
The current price spike comes after an Exxon refinery in Torrance suffered a power outage earlier in the week. Many stations are charging more than $5 per gallon for regular,some stations ran out of gas because of fuel rationing by their suppliers, while still other stations are running out of gas because they refused to pay the high wholesale prices. Fifteen Costco stations were among those who refused to pay the exorbitant prices.
California already has the highest fuel prices in the country. A special blend designed to meet strict environmental guidelines costs more and is highly taxed by the state government. This blend is made only at a few specific West Coast refineries, which is why the state was particularly hard-hit by the Torrance power outage issue.
According to the New York Times, the prices should soon level off.
Refining experts said the rationing and exceedingly high prices would probably last a couple of weeks at the most. Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service, said California customers might get some relief in the next few days because traders were suddenly lowering the prices of their bulk sales almost as fast as they were raising them over the last few days. He said the wholesale price for gasoline on the West Coast dropped 50 cents on Friday from a high of $4.25 a gallon.
“The prices are incredibly erratic,” Mr. Kloza said. “It’s gone from incredibly excessive pricing to just plain excessive.”
However, the relief may be short-lived as tensions in the Middle East continue to rise. Oil prices in general rose after the Turkish military fired on Syria. The Middle East and North Africa are responsible for about a third of the world’s oil supply. As well, American attempts to enforce economic sanctions on Iran may backfire by affecting the prices Americans pay at the pumps.
The Business Standard warns us to look for further increases:
New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in November rose 31 cents to $92.24 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for November delivery gained 29 cents to $110.10.
“You could look at the heightened sanctions against Iran. I would say that’s probably the excuse that the market needed to suspend the slide over the last few days,” Nick Trevethan, senior commodities strategist for ANZ Research in Singapore, told AFP.
Britain, France and Germany yesterday urged their European Union partners “to further step up the pressure” on Iran by agreeing new sanctions to undermine its nuclear drive, in a joint letter seen by AFP.
The sanctions — set to be formally adopted on October 15 — called for punitive action in the energy, finance, trade and transportation sectors.
The fluctuations in price may trend downward again, but they will only give partial relief. Each increase builds upon the last one as Americans are manipulated to line the pockets of Big Oil.
With no end in sight to the ever-increasing prices, the only way to fight back is to look for ways to reduce our dependence on oil.
- Eat locally produced food
- Stop recreational driving
- Group your errands into one trip
- Walk or bike for quick local errands
- Maintain your vehicle well so it runs more efficiently
- Grow and produce as much of your food as possible
The higher prices advance the global elite principles of Agenda 21. People are forced to crowd into cities and be dependent on public transit as operating a vehicle begins to become out of financial reach for any but the very wealthy. Fewer people will be able to maintain transportation from the desirable, resource-rich, rural regions and the increased fuel prices will serve as a herding mechanism to corral the masses into urban areas.
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